Redband Parrotfish Identification

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The redband parrotfish is a fish that is hard to identify because each species has multiple color schemes that are present at different life stages. Discover how redband parrotfish change color in their terminal stage with help from a scuba diving instructor in this free video on fish identification and marine life.

Part of the Video Series: Caribbean Fish
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Video Transcript

The marine creature we're going to identify now is the redband parrotfish. Parrotfish are among the hardest fish to identify since each species has multiple color schemes that are present at different life stages. The prettiest stage for most parrotfish are their terminal stage colors which they take on at maturity. The terminal phase for the redband parrotfish features a mostly green body with a small yellow and black spot on their upper body right behind the gill cover. They also usually have a narrow stripe running from the corner of their mouth, under their eye, ending just past the eye. This stripe is usually a pink, orange, or yellow color. They also have a squared off tail, although it may look crescent shaped since part of the center section can be clear. The terminal phase color pattern also includes black coloration on the outer tips of their tails. Before reaching the terminal color phase the redband parrotfish can be found in a variety of color schemes, but the one distinctive feature that they all have is a white patch called a saddle behind the dorsal fin at the base of the tail. They can be a solid green-blue color with red fins to greenish colored fish with white stripes running along the length of their body. In the striped phase their color can also be a gray to a bluish color. Redband parrotfish are common from Florida to The Bahamas and the rest of the Caribbean. As with most parrotfish they are generally seen swimming across the reef, stopping from time to time to scrape algae and coral polyps from the reef. Since they also ingest substantial quantities of the calcium carbonate skeleton of the corals they feed upon they will also frequently be seen defecating as they swim along, adding to the sand around the reef. Terminal phase redband parrotfish are one of the smaller parrotfish; ranging from six to eleven inches, with most in the six to ten inch range. Intermediate phase redbands can also be found in small groups. They can be found on reefs generally ranging from a depth of ten feet to sixty feet, so they are lovely fish that can be enjoyed by both snorkelers and scuba divers. Redband parrotfish, like all parrotfish, are protagonist hermaphrodites. This means that all redband parrotfish start out their life as females, and later in life as they mature become males. Terminal phase redband parrotfish are all males. That's the redband parrotfish.


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